knows he can't tell western liberals the truth. He knows they
would run from him faster than you can say "PW Botha" or "Pauline
Hanson." Lee Teng-hui, or should I say "Iwasato Masao," knows
he can't tell sympathetic western liberals the real reason he
is obsessed with separating Taiwan from the rest of China is that
he despises China, hates the people of China, and considers them
congenitally inferior to the people of Japan. He dreams of making
his mark in Japanese history as the national hero who enabled
Japan to annex Taiwan a second time.
is Taiwan independence Quislings such as Lee Teng-hui, whom clueless
Newsweek reporters canonized as "Mr. Democracy," don't give a
damn whether people on Taiwan live under "Freedom and Democracy."
I'm not saying they resolutely oppose Freedom and Democracy. I'm
saying Freedom and Democracy is not their highest priority. They
recite the Freedom and Democracy mantra only because they know
Taiwan independence fellow travelers like to hear it.
repressive and dictatorial behavior since "Son of Taiwan" Chen
Shui-bian became the "Il Duce of Taiwan" reveals, they care only
about indoctrinating Chinese people on Taiwan with their artificially
fabricated, self-hating, "Taiwanese, not Chinese" race consciousness.
They care only about founding a race-based "Nation of Taiwan"
in which the three-fourths Hoklo majority of "zheng gang de tai
wan ren" (genuine Taiwanese), rule the roost, and any minority
unhappy about being forced to live under petty tribalist Hoklo
Chauvinism can lump it.
for Me but not for Thee
Anarchism in One Easy Lesson
to better understand how market anarchism would solve the dilemma
of Taiwan independence, we need to first remind ourselves what
market anarchism is.
or anarcho-capitalism, is essentially classical liberalism, paleo-conservativism,
and "minarchist" libertarianism taken to its logical and radical
conclusion. One might say that classical liberalism, paleo-conservativism,
and "minarchist" libertarianism go ninety percent of the way to
total liberty. Market anarchism goes all the way.
explains, anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy based on
an uncompromising respect for individual sovereignty and an unyielding
prohibition against the initiation of force. Anarcho-capitalists
embrace laissez-faire capitalism and consider the state an illegitimate
monopolist and systematic violator of individual rights. To anarcho-capitalists,
a legitimate political system can emerge only from private property
and voluntary contractual agreements between sovereign individuals.
all goods and services, even law enforcement, would be provided
by the free market. Anarcho-capitalists believe in courts, military,
and police forces only if they are established and funded on a
purely voluntary basis. Coercion of any kind is unacceptable,
and undermines the legitimacy of a political system from its very
inception. According to Gustave de Molinari, the father of market
anarchism, "Under a regime of liberty, the natural organization
of the security industry would not be different from that of other
of justice and defense already exist. They emerge spontaneously
wherever the market is free to compensate for the failure of the
state: private arbitration, private security firms, neighborhood
watch groups, and so on. These private courts and private police
are often referred to as Private Defense Agencies, or PDAs. Anarcho-capitalists
would replace the coercively established and coercively funded
legal apparatus of the state with voluntarily established and
voluntarily funded Private Defense Agencies that use physical
force only in self-defense, and only against those who initiate
is a free market economist with George Mason University. In his
article, "Medieval Iceland and the Absence of Government," Whiston
provides us with insights into the truly remarkable Icelandic
Commonwealth political system.
Commonwealth or Icelandic Free State, which flourished between
930 and 1262, offers modern libertarians a well-documented, real
world example of how a market anarchist political system worked
in the past, and how it can work again in the future, if only
we can bring ourselves to "think outside the box," if only we
can disabuse ourselves of Frances Fukuyama's delusion that Western
liberal democracy is the final form of human government.
Commonwealth was a single, unified nation with a single, overarching
constitution, but a multiplicity of "competing governments," all
of which had jurisdiction over the same territory.
public property, i.e., "government property," the Icelandic Commonwealth
had only private property. The entire island was privately owned
by one private citizen or another.
as it may be for us to grasp, the Icelandic Commonwealth had no
executive and no judiciary.
a judiciary, the Icelandic Commonwealth had private courts. Members
of these private courts were chosen after a crime was committed.
The defendant and plaintiff each had the right to pick half the
One of the
few permanent officials was the "law speaker." His duty was to
memorize the laws, recite them back, and to provide advice on
a king, the Icelandic Commonwealth had a multitude of chieftains.
These chieftains were not regional warlords. These chieftains were
not local authorities. These chieftains were leaders of de facto
central governments in competition with other chieftains' central
governments. Each chieftains' jurisdiction was not a part of Iceland,
but all of Iceland.
were not conventional heads of government. After all, we are talking
about anarchism, and anarchism means "no government." These chieftains
were heads of Private Defense Agencies.
were not dukes, earls, and barons. They were not hereditary aristocrats.
Their authority was not conferred upon them by virtue of their
ancestry at birth. Their authority was provisional, conferred
upon them by citizens who signed "law enforcement service contracts"
with them. Their authority was subject to unilateral revocation
any time by their clientele.
of the Icelandic Commonwealth unhappy with the service provided
by one chieftain did not need to emigrate to a different jurisdiction
in order to live under a different political authority. Like any
customer of any service industry, he merely needed to take his
business elsewhere, to another chieftain. If that chieftain disappointed
him, he could reassign his contract for law enforcement services
to yet another chieftain, ad infinitum.
it as switching your cable television, cellphone, or Internet
service provider at will, whenever your current provider's service
fails to meet with your satisfaction.
of switching governments, or rather, "law enforcement service
providers" at an individual citizen's discretion without having
to pull up roots and emigrate to a foreign country, was the key
to making the system work. This option provided de facto political
secession all the way down the level of the individual, and made
the term "civil servant" a comforting reality instead of a cruel
Anarchism Works, Naysayers are Wrong
of market anarchism, including the late Ayn Rand, have trotted
out a wide range of theoretical arguments purporting to prove
that market anarchism can never work.
problem with the naysayers' learned arguments is that market anarchy
has worked. The market anarchist Icelandic Commonwealth worked
for over three centuries. The constitutional republican United
States worked for only two centuries. Did the United States work?
If working for two centuries means that the United States worked,
then working for three centuries means the Icelandic Commonwealth
States worked as long as it remained a constitutional republic.
Once it degenerated into a democracy, sometime during the Progressive
Era and the New Deal, it stopped working. The Icelandic Commonwealth
worked as long as it remained a market anarchy. Once it degenerated
into a theocracy, sometime around 1200, it stopped working. The
Icelandic Commonwealth worked longer than the United States. While
the Icelandic Commonwealth worked, it worked even better than
the United States.
of market anarchism who claim to have proven that market anarchism
can't work remind me of the aeronautical engineers who proved
that bumblebees can't fly. The fact is bumblebees have flown.
Bumblebees can fly. The fact is market anarchism has worked. Market
anarchism can work.
engineers who "proved" that bumblebees can't fly were merely being
funny. Ayn Rand and her "intellectual heirs" were not.
history of the Icelandic Commonwealth demonstrates in actual practice
and not mere theory that every function that the Conventional
Wisdom insists must be provided coercively by a state monopoly
can be provided voluntarily by private entrepreneurs, without
violating the prohibition against the initiation of force.
Due to widespread
semantic sloppiness, the neutral term "anarchy" has become conflated
with the pejorative term "chaos." But the term anarchy, properly
understood, does not mean chaos. It means "no government."
Does no government
mean chaos? It does not. It just means an absence of government.
An absence of government is fully compatible with social order.
In fact, an absence of government is highly conducive to enhanced
social order. As the Daoist sage Laozi wisely observed, "The people
are difficult to govern because of the excessive agency of their
superiors in governing them. It is through this that they are
difficult to govern."
that an absence of government equals chaos is a myth perpetuated
by obdurate statists. Anarchy need not be a Hobbesian state of
nature, with a war of all against all, but rather extended periods
of peace and prosperity.
Iceland and the Absence of Government
a market anarchist solution to the perplexing problem of Taiwan
independence, inspired by the medieval era Icelandic Commonwealth.
No one has ever advanced such a proposal before. You read it here
anarchist solution for the problem of Taiwan independence would
begin with the half-century old cross-Straits status quo.
What is the
cross-Straits status quo?
quo in the Taiwan Straits is not Lee Teng-hui's "Two States" or
Chen Shui-bian's "One Country each Side." The status quo is not
"One China, One Taiwan," or even "Two Chinas." The status quo
in the Taiwan Straits is "One Country, Two Systems," with the
key proviso that the "One Country" is the neutral term "China,"
rather than the loaded terms "Republic of China" or "People's
Republic of China"
that the term One Country, Two Systems is disliked even by some
Pan Blues does not alter the facts. Pan Blues who are allergic
to the term One Country, Two Systems because it was formulated
by the PRC rather than the ROC are free to substitute the terminology
of the '92 Consensus, "One China, Different Expressions." It amounts
to the same thing.
unfamiliar with the 1992 Consensus, it stipulates that "There
is only one indivisible China. This China includes both Taiwan
and the Chinese mainland. Beijing will refer to this China as
the People's Republic of China. Taipei will refer to this China
as the Republic of China. Chinese citizens ruled by the PRC government
in Beijing will recognize it as China's government. Chinese citizens
ruled by the ROC government in Taipei will recognize it as China's
structure of the Icelandic Commonwealth was "One Country, Many
Governments." Each of these governments claimed sovereignty over
all of Iceland, and exercised jurisdiction over all of Iceland.
structure of a China divided by the lingering Cold War "Mexican
Stand-off," is "One Country, Two Governments." Each of these governments
claims sovereignty over all of China, but exercises jurisdiction
over only part of China.
As we can
see, China's competing governments, unlike medieval Iceland's
competing governments, do not exercise jurisdiction over all of
China. The most critical change necessary to transform China into
a modern version of the Icelandic Commonwealth would be to allow
each of China's competing governments to exercise jurisdiction
over all of China, in addition to claiming sovereignty over all
Anarchist Chinese Commonwealth
reunified nation could be renamed the Chinese Commonwealth, the
Chinese Free State, or just plain China. Just as we no longer
need the terms West Germany and East Germany now that Germany
has been reunified, so we would no longer need the names Nationalist
China and Communist China, or Republic of China and People's Republic
of the ROC government in Taipei and the PRC government in Beijing
are "minarchist," limited government constitutions, in principle
if not necessarily in practice.
of the newly reunified Chinese Commonwealth would be a market
anarchist, no government/competing governments constitution.
of the Chinese Commonwealth would never pay another dime in taxes
to any government, central, provincial, or local, because there
would no longer be any government, central, provincial, or local.
There would only be one unified nation consisting entirely of
privately owned property, in which citizens would voluntarily
contract with Private Defense Agencies for law enforcement services.
advocates would relinquish all demands for political independence
from the Chinese Commonwealth. They would cease and desist all
attempts to undermine the national sovereignty and territorial
integrity of the Chinese nation.
the Constitution of the Chinese Commonwealth would authorize all
political parties to reorganize themselves as Private Defense
Agencies. The Taiwan based Democratic Progressive Party would
be free to offer its law enforcement services anywhere in China,
including the Chinese mainland. The mainland based Chinese Communist
Party would be free to offer its law enforcement services anywhere
in China, including Taiwan.
to establish Private Defense Agencies and to enter the law enforcement
service industry would of course not be restricted to political
parties. I mention political parties merely to illustrate one
of many possibilities.
be free to establish a Private Defense Agency and offer law enforcement
services to the public. Entering the law enforcement service industry
would be a purely economic decision.
to any law enforcement service provider would also be a purely
economic decision. Citizens would subscribe to those Private Defense
Agencies that offered the most satisfactory service for the most
status quo, "One Country, Two Governments," is already halfway
to market anarchism. All that remains is to go the rest of the
way. All that is necessary to transform today's China into a modern
version of the Icelandic Commonwealth is to take "One Country,
Two Governments" to its logical and radical conclusion and create
"One Country, Many Governments."
for Beijing? Let's Roll!
go for it, you say, therefore the market anarchization of China
is a pipe dream?
Beijing's unwillingness to do anything become a problem? The Chinese
Communist Party under Mao Zedong rejected free market capitalism
for the Chinese mainland, but the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek
and Chiang Ching-kuo implemented free market capitalism on Taiwan
anyway, and Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao on the Chinese
mainland eventually followed suit. The CCP used to stand for the
Chinese Communist Party. Now it stands for the Chinese Capitalist
haven't Taiwan independence Quislings and Taiwan independence
fellow travelers alike been telling the world that "democratic
and progressive" Taiwan has exerted enormous internal political
pressure on Beijing via the power of example? Were these just
empty boasts, or where they for real?
Quislings have been chafing at the bit, eager to get the secessionist
ball rolling. That being the case, why wait for Beijing? As Todd
Beamer told fellow captives aboard UAL Flight 93: "Let's roll!"
Why not liberate
ourselves from our statist captors in Taipei and Washington first?
Why wait for the Chinese mainland to make the first move? Why
not recognize the right of sovereign individuals to secede from
the Taiwanese kleptocracy and the American Leviathan first? Why
not implement market anarchism in the "Free Region of China" and
the "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" first? Why not show
those uptight, repressive Commie bastards how "democratic and
progressive" we are?
to take the first step? No problem. We'll go first. They can catch
as libertarians know only too well, even the moderate "minarchist"
policy proposals advanced by the Libertarian Party of the United
States are considered beyond the pale by the conservative Republicans,
moderate centrists, and liberal Democrats who comprise the Great
Silent Majority in the US and other "advanced democracies." Never
mind any political proposals containing the term "anarchist" in
bitter post 3/20 election protests in 2004, many Pan Blue protestors
suggested that rather than suffer passively as Pan Green Quislings
engaged in creeping secession from China, the Pan Blue democratic
majority on Taiwan ought to seize the initiative and declare an
independent loyalist Chinese republic in the northern half of
the island, confirm Lien Chan as Pan Blue president, pay taxes
to Pan Blue officials, and leave Taiwan independence Quislings
in the south to starve themselves to death with their economically
suicidal protectionist policies.
independence Quislings are serious about honoring the "Right to
Self-Determination," they can start by honoring the Pan Blue camp's
desire not to be ruled by a treasonous "Vichy China" led by corrupt
Taiwan independence Quislings.
Anarchism, the Solution to a Global Problem
Chinese on Taiwan and China's mainland face a challenge akin to
the challenge faced by Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship of the
Rings in JRR Tolkien's epic novel, "The Lord of the Rings."
must defend the political sovereignty and territorial integrity
of the Chinese nation against coordinated "Divide and Conquer"
tactics by Neo-imperialists from without and Quislings from within.
must accomplish this defense without sacrificing the individual
liberty and individual sovereignty of 1.3 billion Chinese citizens.
As James Madison warned, "The means of defense against foreign
danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at
home." This is true even of an unprovoked, unavoidable war of
Baggins and the Fellowship of the Rings, modern Chinese have been
reluctantly saddled with the One Ring [Democratic Universalism],
an instrument of absolute power that could allow Sauron, the
dark Lord of Mordor [Dubya, the dark Lord of the New World
Order], and his accomplice Saruman [Junichiro Koizumi],
to rule Middle Earth [the Middle East / Central Asia /
China, the Middle Kingdom] and enslave its peoples. Like Frodo
and the Fellowship of the Rings, modern Chinese must take the
One Ring [Democratic Universalism] to Mount Doom, where
it first was forged, and destroy it forever [refute and neutralize
Democratic Universalism's hypnotic and evil spell at its source],
all the while combatting internal dissension [exasperatingly
naïve democracy activists on the Chinese mainland and vicious
ethnic separatists on Taiwan] and the corrupting influence
of the One Ring itself [the seductive influence of political
power which overwhelmed even the pure of heart Hobbit Frodo Baggins]
with the knowledge that the course of future history [a
peaceful 21st century globalized world] hangs in the balance.
anarchism. Market anarchism not only has the potential to resolve
China's most serious dilemma, it has the potential to resolve
America's dilemmas, the former Yugoslavia's dilemmas, Iraq's dilemmas,
the world's dilemmas.
term for "crisis" is a compound noun combining the terms "danger"
and "opportunity." A crisis is a "dangerous opportunity." A crisis
is an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade.
in the cross-Straits crisis is all too obvious and all too possible.
The danger is that rabid Sinophobes in the US and Japan will eventually
play the "Taiwan Card" as their pretext for a preventive war of
aggression against China. The prospect of nuclear Armageddon involving
1.3 billion Chinese and 290 million Americans, provoked by a 20%
minority of Taiwan independence fundamentalists indoctrinated
with an ersatz "Taiwanese national consciousness," is too appalling
The not so
obvious opportunity is that this crucible of conflict might provide
an answer to a question that has bedeviled mankind since the beginning
of time how to reconcile the requirements of collective security
with the requirements of individual liberty.
for libertarian anti-colonialists/anti-imperialists in every nation
in an increasingly globalized world is to delink patriotism from
statism. Market anarchism does just that. A successful market
anarchist solution to the problem of a Divided China would offer
patriots the world over a means of safeguarding their national
sovereignty and territorial integrity against Neo-colonialist,
Neo-imperialist "Divide and Conquer" tactics from without, without
compromising the individual liberty and individual sovereignty
of their fellow citizens within.